Discuss C3s putting you in harms way ?? in the Periodic Inspection Reporting & Certification area at ElectriciansForums.net

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Just a rant regarding all these landlords EICRs that have become the in thing. And maybe a word of caution to all of you doing them.
To kick off it appears that in the eyes of the law.
A Landlords EICR is to ensure compliance with the 18th edition of the wiring regulations !!
Don't take my word for it, have a search around for yourself.
Now how does that one work out in a court of law ?? How can an installation from previous versions of the regs comply with the 18th ? It wont !
Another one is the risk of being demonised for using C2 coding's as some kind of cash cow.
As an example lack of RCD protection to all circuits. You may well decide a C3 or maybe no code under certain conditions. Then 2 years later (remember these things are supposed to stand for 5 years). Some tenant does something daft, and a fatality occurs. You have a hostile lawyer pointing the finger at you, saying the install was dangerous and you failed to note it as such.
Plastic consumer units. Another one !
You code 3 it, or no code required.
2 years later main switch overheats, goes up in smoke, and your being asked why you didn't fail the install until the fitting of a metal c/u had been carried out.
Maybe I'm over reacting, maybe not.
I just feel that good electricians who are doing there best are being left in very vulnerable positions.
They have to rely on regulations that are often not mandatory, such as BS7671 or code breaker style books. When the courts will be using written laws that contradict what an EICR is all about. We are not lawyers, we are electricians. So ask yourself, how would the law see my decision, Not the regs books.
I have seen Landlords having a moan, and electricians doing the same, because some guy has put a C2 in place where the landlords thinking I have to spend money now !!
And other electricians maybe thinking the coding's too harsh or over the top.
But stop and think. Who's necks on the line people ?
Unfortunately I have seen many changes in my lifetime. And IMHO not all for the best. We now live in a world of "where there's blame there's a claim" And as said when it hits the fan and your in the dock. Your on your own, because all those with the big ideas regulation quotes and the like will be nowhere to be seen.
A code 3 is always a step towards covering yourself. A code 2 even more so. I have always been confident of my judgements but that's as an electrician. But when I reflect on where all this is going in terms of possible future legal implications. I am not so sure.
So be very very careful.
And if some guy puts a C2 where you think a C3 was appropriate.
When asked your opinion, simply say its a judgement call, its his signature, and his choice. Its not always about saving a few bob.
I'm thinking of all of us here, and admit only C2 for what I feel are genuine reasons BUT and its a big BUT !! And mark my words.
There maybe a storm coming, and we are not seeing it.
 
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mattg4321

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If you’ve followed best practice guide 4, then that will stand you in good stead should you end up in a situation such as you describe.
 

Mike Johnson

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Why is there no ACOP (Approved code of Practice) for electrical installations, is it just too complicated to cover every situation?
 

Soi disant

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Remember that reports have words, and conclusions, and advice, not just EICR forms. And that a C3 is still a recommendation for improvement.

Take the above example of an electrician coding a lack of RCD as a C3. If in his report he explains the benefits of RCDs, and why he thinks they should be there, and that he believes the landlord's duty of care means he should have them added and recommends that it be done, then 2 years down the line it isn't the electrician who screwed up, it's the landlord.
 
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A Landlords EICR is to ensure compliance with the 18th edition of the wiring regulations !!
I agree that is what the recent law says, but I don't think that is the end of the story.
The relevant legislation is the "Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020" and can be viewed here: The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 - https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/312/contents/made

“electrical safety standards” means the standards for electrical installations in the eighteenth edition of the Wiring Regulations, published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the British Standards Institution as BS 7671: 2018(3);

3.—(1) A private landlord(1) who grants or intends to grant a specified tenancy must—

(a)ensure that the electrical safety standards are met during any period when the residential premises(2) are occupied under a specified tenancy; etc.


BUT personally I think this has ended up a little ambiguous and needs to be tested in court. I don't have the BBB here but there is (or was?) a paragraph saying something like - "Existing installations that have been installed to meet earlier editions of the Regulations may not comply with this edition in every respect. This does not mean that they are unsafe or require upgrading"

So the law says the installation has to meet the electrical safety standards, and the electrical safety standards say that installations to earlier standards don't need upgrading. (paraphrasing). So where does that leave us?
As already posted above, my answer is BPG4.
BPG4 does have examples where they should be treated as retrospective, for example outside sockets not RCD protected being coded as a C2.

So I'm very happy to try and follow BPG4.
I'm not going to tell every landlord they need a shiny new metal consumer unit.
I am happy to tell them that their pond pump needs RCD protection though.
 
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Just wanted to mention I am not agreeing or disagreeing with anyone's point of view here.
I just want you guys to feel as safe as the decisions you make.
As far as I am concerned the legislation for private rented should state as a minimum requirement ALL circuits unless a risk assessment says otherwise should contain RCD protection. And if that means a new consumer unit then so be it. Not as a cash cow, but to provide an adequate additional degree of safety towards the tenant, and provide a duty of care requirement by the landlord. It would also mean that such a decision would bring the installations a bit closer to how the legal requirements currently stand. And make no mistake the legal wording relates to compliance with the 18th as things stand.
And until some poor Guy or Girl finds themselves in a first case battle to iron out how the law should be interpreted on this. Its up in the air. But it is there. !!
Its gonna happen in some not to distant version of BS7671 so why not bring it in now, and take some of these personal judgement calls away, along with the attitude that Electricians are trying to make money out of the situation.
 

Darkwood

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Any periodic inspection is designed to expose clearly dangerous issues with the installation so they can be immediately addressed and also enables the ability to put in advanced warnings or precautions to be recommended.

Let's just remember here that an EICR is an inspection on the hardwired installation only and not anything that could be dangerous that is attached to it although it is common to raise some issues in visual inspection.
Anything connected to the installation like an appliance falls under its own inspection requirements so if the landlord provides washing machines etc they should be PAT inspected on a regular basis, other items that are tenant owned fall under the tenants own responsibility to check they are safe to use and not damaged or accessible to pets and small children.

The grey area fall into what is called manufacturers recommendations, if you are PATesting appliances and they recommend RCD protection and the installation falls short in that then measures should be taken to give that whether it be fitting a rcd plug or socket or upgrading the install, this ensure appliances warranties are not void and protection is ensured that the manufacturer deemed it may require in a fault condition.

As an EICR has no bearing on appliances on the installation and a PATest has no bearing on the installation itself so we are in a chasm of emptiness on how exactly you go about this, the only solution is to attach a write up recommending RCD coverage to provide that protection thus reducing the possibilities of landlord liability in a accident or fatality in an electrical related incident, this will be in additional to its general C3 grading which only looks at the installation and not the nature or use of the building.

We have to treat the EICR the same for a private owned property or a rented landlord property and marking them differently is not how we should be approaching EICR's.
 
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Soi disant

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BUT personally I think this has ended up a little ambiguous and needs to be tested in court. I don't have the BBB here but there is (or was?) a paragraph saying something like - "Existing installations that have been installed to meet earlier editions of the Regulations may not comply with this edition in every respect. This does not mean that they are unsafe or require upgrading"
1617546116557.png

So the law says the installation has to meet the electrical safety standards, and the electrical safety standards say that installations to earlier standards don't need upgrading. (paraphrasing). So where does that leave us?
I don't see that there's a conflict. Ignoring the problem that they used the word "comply" when they really should have written "conform", it's straightforward enough - the Wiring Regulations do not require older installations to be upgraded.

That doesn't stop something else, e.g. a law, from requiring it.
 
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That doesn't stop something else, e.g. a law, from requiring it.
Thanks for digging out the wording.
I didn't actually mean to suggest a conflict in that sense. More querying how one relates to the other. If the law says "electrical safety standards are met" with electrical saftey standards being defined as BS7671, I can't decide if that means it needs to meet BS7671 in all regards as per a new installation or if it allows BS7671's own provisions for older installations.
Maybe I'm over thinking it....again!
 

Lister1987

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The judge won't give a monkies about 7671, all they would look at is EAWR, and providing you can offer a robust defence under Regulation 29 (or the 'you can't prove I did/not do it' defence) them you have nothing to worry about.

Just sounds like scaremongering
 

Mike Johnson

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Whilst I agree the judge will not give BS7671 much thought, a defence lawyer will quote it as being a reasonable source of standards to work to, unless the prosecution can point to a more definitive document or source of information, the argument being made outside the judge's knowledge base, once made the judge must take these arguments into account, being BS7671 or an alternative source of better standards, for instance an expert witness.
 
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